Tips for Maximizing Productivity and Knocking Out Your To-Do Lists

November 4, 2015

7:00 pm

To-do lists are supposed to be helpful, but if you’re doing all you can to keep your startup operating in a more sustainable way, the mere act of creating those aforementioned lists may seem like too much of a hassle. Fortunately, there are several apps and tips you can use to make those lists much easier to handle. Then, all that’s left to do is start tackling those tasks.

Turn Emails Into Tasks

If you’re like many people, sending an email comes almost as easily as speaking or breathing. Perhaps that’s why there are numerous apps and services that can convert emails into reminders of things you need to do.

Any.DO is just one example of an app users depend on when they need to streamline their to-do lists. Wunderlist, Swipes and Todoist are some other notable leaders. Basically, they work though a similar concept: all you need to do is send an email to a dedicated address, and make sure the subject line reads like a to-do item. It’s that simple.

Use Voicemail to Your Advantage

Maybe you’re the kind of person who prefers to stay mobile as much as possible and only use computers when absolutely necessary. In that case, it’s possible to turn voicemails into emails (and you thought voicemail was dead).

By using one of the apps mentioned above, you can then compile a to-do list that includes the calls you need to return. This kind of solution is great if you often spend long periods away from your desk on a given day.

Such visual voicemail apps are also useful if you are in a setting, such as a meeting, where it is not appropriate for you do anything other than glance down the screen of your smartphone to read the message someone has sent to you. These apps allow you to immediately gauge whether an incoming message is of an urgent nature, without ever having to put the phone to your ear.

Along those same lines, consider using a voicemail-to-text app to send yourself reminders to follow up with people you meet during networking events. It’s so important that people remember who you are after initial face-to-face interactions, and sending an email is one way to ensure you stay stuck in their memories.

Furthermore, if you’re driving or otherwise not able to call a person back right away, a visual voicemail app allows you to send yourself a text reminder to get back in touch with that person as soon as you are able.

Cut Down on the Number of To-Do Lists

According to survey data from the Family and Work Institute, more than half of all Americans feel overwhelmed. If you consider most of them aren’t trying to run startup businesses, perhaps that statistic sheds some light on why you may often feel there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Everyone gets the same numbers of hours in a day, but the difference is how we spend them. If you feel your to-do lists just aren’t helping you shrink your amount of obligations, that’s likely because either the lists aren’t effectively constructed, or perhaps you have too many.

The more lists you have, the higher the likelihood you’ll mix up the content of your lists so much that it’s difficult to see which tasks to tackle first, or that you’ll lose your lists. Try to just make a single list. If you find the list is too long, create daily to-do lists that only contain items that move you closer to your company’s overall strategic goals. Aiming for that prevents your lists from becoming unfocused, and ultimately confusing.

Hopefully you now feel like it’s much more feasible to have to-do lists that are helpful instead of acting as hindrances. Although your first stab at making a better to-do list or using one of the apps mentioned above to create one quicker may not be perfect, every attempt is a step in the right direction for helping your startup run smoothly.

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Kayla Matthews is a tech productivity blogger who writes for MakeUseOf and The Gadget Flow. Follow Kayla on Google+ and Twitter, or read her latest posts on her blog, Productivity Bytes.

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